Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Obama Team Advances Rush Limbaugh As GOP Leader – Limbaugh Aids DNC Strategy

This past week, RNC Chair, Michael Steele made remarks on CNN’s D.L. Hughley show (see You Tube Video Below) that we’re taken somewhat out of context by, talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh and a “feud” of sorts ensued. Michael Steele, in answer to Hughley’s assertion that Rush Limbaugh was the “head of the GOP”, was dismissed by Steele, who referred to Limbaugh as an entertainer, additionally noting that his remarks were “incendiary” and sometimes ugly. Limbaugh, who had spoken at CPAC (an ultra conservative “rally” of sorts - not the RNC Convention), focusing on basic tenants of conservatism, and the “socialist” motives of the Obama association, brought the house down, which prompted the media, aided by Mr. Limbaugh, to anoint Limbaugh as a “leader” within the Republican Party.

Steele, is correct in his assertion that Limbaugh is an entertainer and in the give and take with Hughley noted that there was no difference between remarks made regarding Obama and those made by Democrats during the Bush administration. If one were to look objectively at the interview, one would understand that Steele was doing his job, fending off assertions that Limbaugh, not Steele, was the Head of the RNC (which, note to Limbaugh: the RNC is the Republican Party), not Mr. Limbaugh. Limbaugh, who is not out of line in outlining that conservatism and liberalism are diametrically opposed, speaking out against a “socialist” driven agenda that is being advanced by the Obama administration, was out of line in asserting that Mr. Steele had made a mistake in calling him an entertainer, not the Leader of the Republican Party. One can bet the house that Limbaugh’s ratings have gone through the proverbial roof the past few days, over a conflict that has, in large part, been manufactured by Mr. Limbaugh himself. It is not so much about power, rather it is about ratings. To be fair, Limbaugh, for his part, is sincere in his beliefs, fairly well researched and in his daily diatribes delivered from his Palm Beach studio, giving a voice to conservative think that is otherwise missing in other media formats. However, his language is often contrived and inflammatory, because the man has a sense of humor, and he is “right” on many issues that are near and dear to the hearts of conservatives. Mr. Limbaugh should have been less petty (he is, after all, an entertainer), and instead of attacking Steele for pointing out truisms, he should have attacked the source, the Obama administration and the DNC.

In a clear departure from the norm, the Los Angeles Times, ran an excellent analysis of the “Limbaugh as GOP Leader” theory being promoted by the Obama White House in order to create the illusion that Limbaugh is the head of the GOP. This tactic failed miserably in the 1990’s, with the “vast right wing” conspiracy theory advanced by the Clinton’s. With the exception of those on the “left”, (or 30% of the population), moderates, independents and conservatives do not view Limbaugh as either the head of any party, nor a threat, rather a “conservative talk show host”.

In lending credence to the “fear Rush” mantra coming from the White House, Mr. Limbaugh is not giving credit to Michael Steele, RNC Chair, who is a proven grassroots organizer (GoPAC), and duly elected head of the RNC (otherwise known as the Republican Party). Steele has kept the RNC in the spotlight by appearing on a variety of talk shows, repudiating the bailouts, the Obama administration budget, and basically out-“Rushing” Rush. The difference is that Steele does so with a certain bit of gravitas that is not the bluff and bluster of most conservative talk shows. Both men play critical roles (Steele in leadership and Limbaugh in cheerleading) and giving credit where credit is due; Steele is the bigger man, showing true leadership and political skills in issuing an “apology” to Limbaugh. The quote, here from the AP :

"I respect Rush Limbaugh, he is a national conservative leader, and in no way do I want to diminish his voice," Steele said in a statement late Monday. "I'm sure that he and I will agree most of the time, but will probably disagree some as well, which is fine.”

"The Democrats are doing everything they can to find ways to take people's attention off of their massive 36-billion-dollar-a-day spending spree that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have embarked on. To the extent that my remarks helped the Democrats in Washington to take the focus, even for one minute, off of their irresponsible expansion of government, I truly apologize."

One has to admire Michael Steele; he’s battling bruised talking head ego’s and the DNC. In the analysis of the Obama strategy to create “fear of Republicans” by touting the “Limbaugh as Leader “scenario, the Los Angeles Times, has done a great service to conservatives, giving insight into the true nature of the “Leader of the Free World”. With elections just around the corner (2010), the administration and the DNC understand that time is critical; each week since Obama took office, his approval rating has taken a step down; within the past week, having dropped another point to 58%. One would think that is a fairly decent approval rating, however, losing points on a daily basis cannot bode well for the “leader of the Democrat Party”, and should this trend continue, George Bush, upon leaving office, will have had a higher approval rating than Obama. Given that the majority of the Republic of the United States considers themselves as either moderate or conservative, there is trouble brewing in 2010 in the fight to maintain the Congress and the Senate, without a majority, the President will be stymied.

Without the public buying into “the economy is not my fault, it is George Bush’s fault”, (This public understands that Wall Street’s failure directly affects pension plans held by those who earn less than $50,000 a year, they also understand that for every action taken by the administration, Wall Street has reacted, dropping lower.), the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Democrat brand. The strategy to paint “the evil” of conservatism, failed in the past, as well as bank bailouts and extreme budgets and a “nanny” state (see Carter administration.) Rush would be providing a great service to the RNC (the Republican Party) if he took the time to admit that “Steele” is correct, and become a bit “incendiary” over the “scheme to make him Leader of the Republican Party by the Obama administration. Should that occur, it would be a rallying call to both Conservatives and Moderates within the party, rather than “sheer entertainment”.


Chuck said...

Good post. I have mixed feelings about Rush doing what he is doing right now. On one hand it is refreshing to hear a conservative make some noise finally and Rush can get people to listen. On the other hand, I agree with you that Steele is the leader of the GOP and Rush needs to defer to him. Rush needs to understand that he does not represent all Republicans. We have a lot of the same views but he does not speak for me.

As far as Obama, I have thought about this in the last few days. I think he's using Rush as a distraction from his policies.

sharilee said...

I am a big supporter of Steele's, but he was out of line. Yes, he was trying to defend his turf, but he would have been better off if he'd taken that portion of the interview with Hughley lightly. He could have taken a cue from some of Rush's work.

Rush, on the other hand, has never implied he was the leader of the Republican Party. What he cares most about is conservatism. And in that regard, he has done a stellar job keeping our issues visible and keeping conservatives motivated. Yes, he's an entertainer, but he's also serious about the Constitution and his beliefs. Why does having a sense of humor have to negate his serious side?


Tina Hemond said...

Hi Chuck & Sherilee
Chuck, you and quite a few other Republican’s I have spoken to over the past few days have felt the same way – Rush is a conservative voice, but again, Steele is the leader of the Party – literally (When a sitting president of the same party is in office, the GOP (or DNC) chair defers to that president, without a sitting GOP president, Steele is the defector head of the party – Rush was wrong in asserting that he was not – The Obama administration is in need of scapegoats, and the Democrats in general, are need to continue to tarnish an increasingly popular Republican brand – (note: change in rhetoric, see LA Times vies a vies Obama and this situation), Rush happens to be handy – and as he is so despised on the extreme left (with those moderates either not knowing who he is, or caring one way or the other), it is also a matter of quelling the dissent within the ranks of the left, through distraction, on multiple issues they feel are not being pushed fast enough. I view Mr. Limbaugh, much in the same way I view Mr. Sanity, as entertainment, conservatives yes, cheerleaders yes, but not necessarily leaders. Sheri lee, we may have to agree to disagree on the Hughley interview, I believe there is a difference in style between the two men, and quiet honestly I did note that Rush had a sense of humor (to whit, there is nothing wrong with that, it is refreshing), additionally holding true to conservative beliefs: quoting the article:
To be fair, Limbaugh, for his part, is sincere in his beliefs, fairly well researched and in his daily diatribes delivered from his Palm Beach studio, giving a voice to conservative think that is otherwise missing in other media formats. However, his language is often contrived and inflammatory, because the man has a sense of humor, and he is “right” on many issues that are near and dear to the hearts of conservatives.
Worcester County, is that not the most solid of Republican Counties in the Blue State? I am heartened to hear that you are a Steele Supporter, again we will agree to disagree regarding his CNN appearance and approach to Hughley: My perspective: I’ve looked at the clip several times, and did not come away with the same p.o.v as many in the media and some conservatives have. Hughley, (another entertainer turned “talking head” – was to my mind, goading Steele, who just responded, in a natural, empathic, no nonsense way – the crux of the problem was his calling Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks, at times, incendiary (which honestly they are) and “ugly” (that will be left to taste, but I’ve listened on a few occasions and found some of his remarks to be utterly offensive.) That is the point, while I may agree with Limbaugh, Hannity and the like on certain issues, it is not constant and the delivery, for me, is somewhat of a turn-off. Steele on the other hand, is reaching a broader base, and speaking for and to those who are in the Republican Party as well as those who may be on the fence, or who otherwise would not consider the Party at all. Compared to past chairs, Steele is refreshing to say the least.

sharilee said...

We are doing what we can here in Worcester County to hold back this state's liberalism before it infects others!

Btw, as far as I know, Rush has never claimed to be the head of the Republican party; as one pundit said today, that would be a step down for him :-) Nor has Rush denied that Steele has that role. Rush's cause is conservatism. And that's good with me as I know way too many R's who have abandoned those principals.

As far as Rush's commentary, before I started listening somewhat regularly, I thought he was a pompous jerk. After 9/11 I listened more and realized that's his sense of humor -- lots of sarcasm. Now I can sort the ego from the jokes.


Tina Hemond said...

Hi Sherilee,
I love your choice of words “infects” - good one – I believe though that, here in the Western end of the state, you have the “committed liberal-socialists”, then those who, for reasons incompressible, will vote for any Democrat because they have always done so – it is maddening – as they understand corruption, taxes, and the like, and the principles of that Party are at total odds with their beliefs! – and then, more importantly, there are far more independent moderates, who are not so easily swayed one way or another – but the aforementioned remind me of zombies and children who have been brainwashed.
Rush is Rush, I’m not certain which pundit you are referring to – being that there are so many that claim that title, - however, he has implied, perhaps in jest, that the RNC chair, is not the leader of the Party, when in reality he is – so, I feel that it was divisive at the very least and, let’s face it, as entertaining as he is, he is also a conservative (duly noted) that is looked up to as giving a voice to conservatism (not to be confused with the actual Party), where there had been none before. I began to listen to him when the Clinton’s went off on the “vast right wing conspiracy” – I just happen not to agree with everything he says – which is as it should be – no matter who is doing the talking – I’ll add your blog to my links – I’m a strict constructionist by the way.

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